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About the Collection

The James R. Tanis Collection of Church Postcards contains over 20,000 postcards depicting church architecture across the United States. The collection was begun in the early 1900s by the young John Christian Tanis, father of James Robert Tanis, donor of the postcards to Princeton Theological Seminary Library. The word “church” here has been very broadly interpreted to include religious buildings of all faiths, including temples, synagogues and mosques. The collection has two parts: over 20,000 postcards depicting religious buildings in the United States (digitized and presented here), and a collection of roughly equal size depicting religious buildings outside the United States (not digitized). The city, state, and denomination of each church are indicated in search results and item details.

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About James R. Tanis

The Rev. Dr. James Robert Tanis (d. 2015) was a minister, scholar, professor, and librarian. He was born and raised in Phillipsburg, New Jersey. He earned a B.A. in history from Yale University, M.Div. from Union Theological Seminary, and Ph.D. in theology from Utrecht University in the Netherlands. Dr. Tanis served as curator of rare books and manuscripts at Union Theological Seminary and as a librarian and lecturer at Harvard Divinity School and Yale University. At Bryn Mawr College, he served as director of libraries and professor of philosophy and religion from 1977–1992 and as director of libraries from 1992–1997. Upon retirement he was named director emeritus of libraries and professor emeritus.

Adapted from: Cook, Bonnie L. (2015, July 24). James R. Tanis, minister, scholar. The Philadelphia Enquirer, p. B7.